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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 29802
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our parakeet looks like it is loosing feathers on chest and

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Our parakeet looks like it is loosing feathers on chest and side of his face. He lives with is brother in a large cage.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: Kestral is purchased at local pet shop when he and his brother were weened from their mother as she had another clutch to take care of. We purchased them in October 2016
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Kestral?
Customer: Smaller then brother and looks wet like he has taken a bath but hasn't been bathing

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. Can you upload a close-up photo(s) of Kestral to our conversation? You can upload photos by using the paperclip or add file icon in the toolbar above your message box or you can use an external app such as

I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Sending picture of Kestral. other important thought, he and his brother were moved to a smaller cage and taken care of by a friends who has had birds in past for four days. He and his brother were put back in their large cage two days ago. Kestral didn't look like the picture until today. Concerned if it is bullying, diet, or stress?

He's a nice looking bird. I don't see any pathology in that pic. Perhaps the feathering on each side of his face was barbered by another bird? I can't tell if there are new pin feathers in that area from here. Please let me know. I have to leave my computer for a few hours but promise to reply as soon as I return.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We will send more pictures. I am sorry that it taking so long to get back to you. I am trying to do this from work and home. Just back in. The bird babysitter said that the brother Kestral was pulling feathers while they were with her but didn't look like Kestral was wet. We have never seen him ever look wet or see the red on his chest where feathers were missing. If he is being bullied, or diet issue or stress, what do you recommend us to do about these three issues?

Thank you. I don't see feather loss but, instead, shortening of the existing feathers. If bullied, the birds are separated. If diet is inadequate it should be improved. Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has his diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Stressors can be minimized when you can identify them - new people or pets in his area, temperature extremes, drafts, a new cage, a new location, e.g. Feeding an exemplary diet is half the battle in these birds who can become seed junkies to their detriment. There's a good chance that Kestral is going to normalize now that he's back home. I can't see the redness you're seeing. The pic is in the shadows. No worries about the time getting back to me. I'm usually chained to my computer by evil gnomes but managed to get out for a couple of hours for dinner with friends. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It looks like we need to work on diet as my daughter has been only given them seed mix from pet store and water with vitamin drop in it each day. She gives them millet when she is doing training activities. We introduced broccoli and carrots to their food today. I will look for food you mentioned in your email. Do we mix wet food with dry food? Concerned about molding
We will continue to watch for bullying behavior.

Ugh. Not good. No, keep wet and dry separate lest you have to throw away too much uneaten food. Millet is just more seed.

Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your time and help! We will do as you have suggested. Can't stay up any longer.

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.


I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin